Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI

Whether its soil or liquid based, this mizuna is easy to grow and quick to harvest. It is very delicious to eat as salads or cooked.

The variety that we grew at home is call Beni Houshi, a purple stem mizuna that is very popular in Japanese restaurants.

Added to salads, the purple hue of its stalk adds color and vibrancy as well as being high in anthocyanin, an antioxidant property found in blueberries.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI from seeds in Singapore

Purple stalk

These leaves are not bitter or wasabi sharp as common mizuna. The stalk tasted mildly sweet and is juicy. It is suitable for children. Both the leaves and stalks are edible.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Leaf & Stalk are edible

Although slower in soil, the mature plant seem more robust with thicker stalk and bigger leaves than our liquid based plants of the same age.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Soil vs. Liquid Base Plants

In Kratky, the stalk and leaves are thinner,

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Liquid Base

than soil based plants.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Thick juicy stalks

Mizuna is a cut and grow plants, similar to Kale.

Germination Notes

  • In very wet medium, the seeds germinated overnight
Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

Overnight germination

  • True Leaf showed within 3 days
Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

2 days old

Within a week, young seedlings have 2 cm length roots.

Grow Mizuna ミズナ, 水菜, Beni HOUSHI in containers

one week old

Without a doubt, this is an easy edible to grow for beginner gardeners.

While stock last, seeds are available for sale in SHOP !

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SWISS CHARDS

Swiss Chards are cold seasoned biennial ( 2 years to complete life cycle) vegetables and come in beautiful vibrant colours, livening up any salads.

We don’t see them on our supermarkets’ shelves and thus decided to grow from seeds.

As they belonged to the beets family, their seeds are similar looking as well.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Fordhook Giant – Pink Stem

Germination Tips –

  • Sow on very wet medium
  • Preferred darkness
  • Maintain wet medium until roots showed
  • Soaked seeds for 20 minutes if sowed directly on soil, slightly buried
Cold Seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 11 – Rainbow seeds sowed

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 14

RAINBOW SWISS CHARDS

The distinctive colors of rainbow Swiss Chard was visible before seed leaves showed. As the seedlings grew, these colors become more vivid.

YELLOW HUE

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 17 – yellow hint

Seeds husk was still attached as the roots grew longer when this seedling was about 6 days old.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 19 –  6 days old

Seed leaves showed on the 7th day as the roots developed mass. The yellow hue is brighter on the stem.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 21

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 04

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 10

RED HUE

Sometimes when the seed germinated this way, they are actually 2 seedlings.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 17 – RED + Green

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 19 – Vivid Red

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 20 – 6 days old

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Red Swiss Chard

FORDHOOK Giant

 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 September 14

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 Sept 30 – Pinkish stem

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Swiss Chards varieties

Swiss Chard has the texture of Romaine and each leaf is very tasteful and juicy. In salad bowls, they add color and vibrancy.

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 9

We will be starting new batches of Swiss Chard and other cold seasoned vegetables for salads after tasting how great they were freshly harvested from our indoor gardens!

 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds in containers

Home Grown “Rainbow” !

 

SEEDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE !

Notes on Swiss Chard

  • 3 – 4 days to germinate
  • Harvest stage around 2 months
  • Seeds like very wet medium
  • Small leaves can be used in salads
  • Bigger leaves for light stir fry
  • Stems typically steamed like asparagus
  • Full sun or partial shade, not fussy
  • If soil, pot need to be deeper, mulch on top soil to prevent heat from penetrating (similar to strawberry outdoor)
  • Mature leaves are crinkled, thick, juicy ( I love them raw for the texture)

WESTERN PARSLEY

Lest we get confused with Chinese Parsley, which to me taste like celery,  these so called “Western” Parsley are Curly leaf (English) and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley.  As this herb is a biennial, meaning it will bolt (flower) in the second year and then died, I much preferred growing them from seeds than buying from the nursery. This way, I know how long I can harvest from my plant before the need to sow new seeds.

Curly Leaf Parsley (2015)

Germinating Tip – Unusual as it seem, I soaked these seeds in a market fish rinse water overnight before sowing, after a few unsuccessful attempts. Thank goodness, there was no lingering fish smell that attracts ants and flies!

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

1 week old Curly with Rosemary cutting

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

2 months Curly Parsley

Curly Parsley from seeds

2015 December 04 –  1 plant in pot

Curly Leaf Parsley are pretty looking and commonly used for garnish. Its flavor is quite mild compared to the Italian Flat Leaf.

Grow Curly Parsley from seeds

Freshly harvest Curly Parsley

Flat Leaf Parsley (Hydro and Soil)

Germination Tip –  Pretty easy, sowed in very wet medium, using kale’s method. First sprout spotted in 2 days.    Sowed them in very wet soil over other medium for better germination result.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 July 31 – very moist soil

Before true leaf showed, root has extended about 2 cm.

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

Long roots

Grow Italian Flat Parsley from seeds

2018 August 06 – True Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

1 month old

Cool Seasoned fresh herbs indoors

Flat Leaf

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Sept 05

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

2018 October 04

Flat Leaf Parsley became too beautiful to eat when we look at them this way!

Grow Italian Flat Leaf or curly Parsley from seeds in containers

2019 February 25

Soil based plants

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Aug 06

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 10

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 25

Cold seasoned salads

Hydro & Soil Parsley

Notes on Western Parsley

  • Preferred cool weather, thus need to protect from hot sun or grow in partial shade
  • Biennial, will flower and die on second year (collect seeds!)
  • Germination – maintain very moist medium for seeds
  • Seedlings preferred slightly moist medium
  • Not fussy about soil type
  • Leaves and stems can be eaten
  • Goes very well with roasted garlic for Italian meals such as pastas

 

Grow cold seasoned herbs from seeds

Pies filling

Cold seasoned salads

Brie & Herbs Pies

Sugar Loaf Chicory

My friends who knew me well probably guessed its the name, “Sugar Loaf” that attracted me to try these seeds! Little did I know that this vegetable is fame for their slightly bitter undertone.

These vegetables are used commonly in the Italian or Spanish kitchens in soups, grilled or cooked with cheeses, garlic, lemon or even mixed with toasted nuts. They are loved for their robust and slightly bitter taste.

Grow sugar loaf chicory from seeds

2018 August 04

The mature plant resembled romaine, with large tightly folded leaves.

They are eaten raw in salads (good with apple cider vinegar base) or cooked. The leaves stand heat well.

The seeds were easy to start, similar to Kale’s method, in very moist environment, within 5 days.

Cold seasoned salads

2018 Aug 04

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 13

Cold seasoned salads

2018 August 28 – 3 weeks old

Notes on Sugar Loaf –

  • French name – Pain de Sucre
  • Italian name – Pan di Zucchero
  • Sun lover but if too hot, will bolt
  • Large Romaine leaves, upright head
  • Sweet core center
  • Escarole type plant
  • 50 -80 days maturity
  • Slightly bitter in salads (usually paired with pears and nuts)
  • Tolerate heat in cooking ( olive oil and garlic)
  • Grilling (BBQ) will bring out more sweetness

Salads Dressing Recipe (Tossed with pears or grapes, toasted nuts, grated cheese)

  • 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper as desired
  • Chopped Coriander

Powerhouse Golden Purslane

Although Purslane is considered a weed in many countries, it nonetheless packed a powerhouse of nutrients for salads lovers. The health benefits include high omega 3 fatty acids (helps lower cholesterol) , natural antioxidants,  Vitamin A, B, C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Native to Asia, purslane is now enjoyed widely for its nutrition and thick, crunchy leaves texture.

We sowed the cultivated edible purslane known as Golden Purslane on July 7, using strawberries’ method, and first sprouts were spotted 4 days later, on July 11. Similar to strawberries, these seeds need light to germinate, thus sowed on surface yield speedy germination success.

The seedlings had red stems when they germinated but the color will be more yellowish green as they matured.

Golden Purslane Plant Care

3 to 4 days to germinate

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Vivid red stems

Golden Purslane Plant Care

Seed leaves appeared

The vivid red stems dimmed when seeds leaves appeared.

Edible Purslane from seeds

4 days after germination

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 July 30

Grow edible succulent

2018 August 04

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 13

Golden Purslane is a cultivated variety with upright green stem instead of red.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

2018 Aug 13

Golden Purslane Plant Care

2018 September 18

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Leaves are thick and slightly crunchy. There is a hint of lemon and the taste is not over powering. In salads, these are easily blend in with other flavors and eaten more for their benefits and texture than taste.

Edible succulent purslane

2018 Aug 25

Golden Purslane Plant care

Leaves and Flowers Formation

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 October 4

Golden Purslane Plant Care

New Leaves and flowers at base of plant

Cultivated Purslane’s yellow flowers are observed to open when there is strong sun and closed again when it is dimmer.

Grow edible succulent from seeds

Yellow Flower

Edible succulent from seeds

2018 August 27

Seeds are available in SHOP !

Interesting Notes on Golden Purslane –

  • Leaves, Stems and Flowers are edible
  • Flowers are typically yellow, 5 petaled, and opened in sunlight
  • Stems can be rooted
  • Sometimes replaced  for spinach
  • Higher beta-carotene than spinach
  • Annual
  • Succulent, prefers drier soil and sun
  • Can be invasive nature, grow like weeds, self sowing seeds

POTATOES IN CONTAINERS

My daughter, Summer, loves potatoes in any form, whether grilled, roast with our fresh herbs, mashed for pot pies or steamed. So I decided to try planting our own in the outdoor apartment’s gardens.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Baked Salmon with Potatoes

We choose small to med sized potatoes rather than large Russet potatoes for our first trial. The larger potatoes may need a long cooler season than our weather.

To plant, we have to find the eyes on potatoes which looked like this.

A small indent on the skin. On each cut slice, there can be more than one eye. In fact, I was told the more the better the yield.

Grow Potatoes from eyes

Potato’s Eye

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Slice a part with more than 1 eye

In big deep pots, we plant potatoes’ cut-side in well draining soil with our own compost. There is about four inch of soil at the base of the pot before we plant. We will top up soil as the potatoes grew as they drew nutrients from the top.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

2018 August 06 – Plant w cut side down

After 2 weeks in soil, roots emerged on the top.

Grow Potatoes from Eyes

Roots

Leaves showed!

Grow Potatoes in Containers

2018 August 23

Grow Potatoes in pots in Singapore

2018 October 26

Grow Potatoes in pots in Singapore

Sneak Peek !

Potatoes typically can be harvested in 3 months time.

We will update as our plants grow.

The moment when we plant our slice of “eyes” in soil Video !

We hope to see our fresh harvest soon from these potatoes!

Grow potatoes in containers

Prepping Potatoes eyes

 

EASY BEGINNERS VEGETABLES

We love growing and harvesting our own vegetables at home. Nothing quite beat the taste and texture of our own plants. It is also immensely gratifying to see the whole journey from seeds to cutting the leaves for a meal and to be able to harvest again each week from the same plant.

AMARANTH

We try amaranth in hydro and soil.

In our opinion, amaranth taste better if soil grown.

This leafy vegetable is a cut and grow plant and can be harvested within a month. There are a few varieties of edible amaranth (Yin Tsai, Chinese Spinach) , examples are red, green or mixed amaranth.

The seeds germinated in 2 days like this. It is important to keep the seeds constantly moist.

Amaranth from seeds

Red Amaranth

HYDRO Seedlings –

Amaranth from seeds

1 week old amaranth

Grow amaranth for salads

Red Amaranth

SOIL based Amaranth

Amaranth from seeds

Amaranth in soil

Amaranth from seeds

Green Amaranth

The texture is silky when lightly braised in soup or quick stir fry. Extremely suitable for young children.

Amaranth from seeds

Mixed Amaranth 

Amaranth from seeds

Fresh and LUSH Harvest

CAMOMILE 

Grow camomile from seeds

Overnight germination

Grow camomile from seeds

1 month old

Exploring more interesting fresh salad options! Camomile leaves are crunchy and taste like the tea of the same namesake! Mixed with spicier arugula, it certainly add texture and kicked up quite an interesting mix.

Grow camomile from seeds

Taste like Tea, mix with arugula

 

KALE – More Information Link

Grow Kale from seeds

Kale seeds

Kale seeds also germinated in 2 days. A cut and grow plant that can be harvested in 2 to 3 months depending on each individual’s preference.

Grow Kale from seeds

2 weeks old Kale

Our family loves the younger (smaller), sweeter tasting leaves that are usually not sold in supermarkets, as we consume them raw. The younger leaves are juicer and less fiberous.

HYDRO KALE

Kale benefits

2 months old kale

 

Kale Care and Health Benefits

7 – 10 days regrow

Kale benefits

Fresh kale salads

 

MALABAR SPINACH

Is also known as climbing or Ceylon spinach but this is not actually a spinach. It belonged to the Basellaceae family and the thick leaves resembled spinach. Eaten raw, every single bite is juicy and crunchy.

Malabar Spinach

3 days to 1 week to see germination

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

3 weeks old

Fresh seeds harvested from plants are easier to germinate than store bought dry seeds. The latter need to be stratified by applying a nail file, knife or sand paper on seeds’ surface before sowing. It preferred hot direct brutal sun but can also be grown in part shade. In mature plants, the thick stem can be propagated in water or direct sowed in soil and roots will regrow.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

Thick Stems

This plant is a climber or creeper in cooler climate and need support. To harvest, we cut only the leaves and they regrow in a week.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

Thick Juicy Leaves

Not sure if our string trellis would work, will update soon.

Grow Malabar Spinach from seeds

2 months old

This plant can be propagated from cutting. We will be growing some of these in hydro to maximize space on the hanging gardens.

Malabar Spinach from Cutting

June 19 – Rooted in 10 days

Two plants per family is often enough for a reliable source of vegetables harvest every week. Avoid drying out the soil as this will cause flowering which resulted in bitter tasting leaves.

Malabar Spinach from seeds

2018 May 28

 

WATER CRESS

Despite its size, this vegetable is a power house of nutrients (vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E, manganese, carotene) and is recommended to eat them raw in mixed salads or juice.

Water Cress from seeds

2018 April 27 – 2 days germination

Will be consuming as microgreens in mixed salads.

Grow water cress from seeds

2 weeks old

Grow watercress from seeds

2018 May 29

Hydro Vegetables from seeds at home

Watercress & More

 

Edible Succulent – Golden Purslane

Edible succulent golden purslane

High omega 3 Fatty Acids + Lemony Crunch

 

Sugar Loaf (Italian name – Pan di Zucchero)

Cold seasoned salads

Sugar Loaf Escarole

Swiss Chard 

Cold seasoned salads from seeds

Red Swiss Chard

 

We grew vegetables on our windows to  harness natural resources such as wind and sun. Our “pots” are constantly in motion, creating ripples in their individual reservoir, giving roots zone more aeration naturally.

 

This hanging garden also allowed soil and hydro based plants to grow together and we DIY these pots’ hangers from PET bottles.

Creative PET bottles garden containers

Hanging Vegetables Gardens

SALADS & HERBS WORKSHOP is available for private 1 : 1, small private group or schools setting. Learn how to grow from seeds in both soil and hydro, the plus & minus of both mediums and embark on this wonderful journey of growing & harvesting fresh whole food.

Growing Vegetables Workshops in Singapore

WORKSHOP

Growing Vegetables Workshops

Seedlings in Recyclables!

Fresh harvest from our gardens everyday !

Grow Vegetables from seeds in containers

Home Grown Wellness

ZERO Carbon Footprint

Featured

In 2015, when I started planting strawberries, I thought keeping them cool in our tropical climate is important. As I grew and learned, I found it is possible to grow them in our natural environment without too much fuss once the seedlings established (4 months ++).

Thus, this discovery, the compilation of 2 years of observation and data collection resulted in new ways to grow strawberries, in soil or hydroponic, without using any cooling elements from electricity.

Zero carbon footprint mean we can all grow strawberries at very low cost and without any fancy high tech equipment. Everyone can grow them with enough understanding of how strawberries grow in our climate.

WORKSHOPS are also available with new curriculum catering to beginners to learn how to grow strawberries in a systematic way from seeds. From our youngest participant (2018 , 11 years old) to any age, everyone is learning in small class setting with lots of hands-on experience.

Soil Based using wind

Grow strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Bedroom Gardens

Recycled socks shield roots from light and prevent soil leaking to floors below during irrigation. Our PET bottles had been modified to cool roots zone and constantly being improved for strawberries or other cool seasoned plants in soil.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

Aug 26 2017 – In modified air-pots from 1.5L PET bottles

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

Soil based plants in natural environment

Passion made Possible Strawberries

Vigorously fruiting when the time is right

Hydroponic strawberry plants in Juice Jars

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

Aug 24 2017 – A thriving fruiting plant without carbon footprint

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

How many fruits can you see on this plant? 🙂

With hydroponic trial, it is now possible for us at home to study the plant intimately – to look at the roots system and how the crown behave as the plant matured. Roots – wise, this is not possible when the plant is in soil.

From seeds to harvest, it is also faster in hydroponic ( 4 months) versus soil based ( 6 to 8 months).

This is the diary of my first hydroponic strawberry, grown without electricity and the convenience of technology.

My first low cost hydroponic strawberries journey began on April 3 2017. Seeds were sowed March 27 on wet sponges. They germinated within 7 days.

Such tiny seedlings, I was glad I sowed them individually on sponges and need not delicately transferred at this stage.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

April 3 2017 – Germinated!

Hydro Strawberries from seeds

2018 White young seedlings

The thrill of seeing strawberry seeds germinated is the same as when I first started in 2015.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

May 24 2017 – See how tiny they were?

Hands literally trembled when I transplant these tiny 2 months old seedlings! Were not sure if how I did were correct.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

June 04 – Young seedlings in yogurt bottles!

The rate of growth in hydroponic is very fast. We see visible spurts in growth in roots mass and height of the plant from the second month.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

July 12 – 3 months old

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

August 02 – First flower bud spotted

Without electricity, this plant is grown in stagnant still water and yet achieved aerated characteristics.

Passion made possible strawberries

August 16 – Plant signalling flowering stage with vivid red stems

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

August 17 – Flower open and new buds seen

With this method, strawberries plants were able to reach flowering stage faster than soil and with the lighter weight, we could grow more plants indoor. In its own reservoir, growing in KRATKY method, we were able to test nutrients efficiently without too much hassle.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

August 18 2017 – One pollinated flower (without petals) and another bloom.

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

August 20 – Fruits started its journey

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

Tiny sweet fruits for picking!

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

The color of ripe!

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

Tabletop fruit plant from seeds 🙂

Tiny fruits from a small plant but its been immensely satisfying for me.

This trial proved that without technology, home grown (tabletop) strawberries is possible.

Growing them hydroponically made it easier to harvest fresh fruits direct from table to mouth!

Observation of after harvest stage –

The plant shared similar characteristics of soil based plants. Leaves and fruits production start to wane. There were more brown than vivid red stems.

Grow strawberries in Singapore

Oct 18 2017 – Leaves begin to brown

Grow strawberries in Singapore

Fruits production slowed

Whether soil based or hydroponic, strawberry plants displayed slowing vigor after a few months of fruits production. The characteristics of slowing growth is the same – less vivid red stems, more brown leaves and stunted fruits.

Similar to strawberries grown in the natural cold zone, after plants have adequate “rest”, the red stems returned and flowering starts.

GRow strawberries in Singapore

2017 Dec 24 – Renewed vigor after resting

A mature plant has a developed crown and multiple splits.

Wintering Trials – Observation of dormant stage and recovery

When winter comes, strawberry plants are buried in snow and ice. They probably looked like this.There are no leaves and colour on the crown. Not all plants recovered to grow again when spring arrived.

Strawberries do not fruit in winter

Wintering effect on strawberry plants

Strawberries do not fruit in winter

Sleeping Plant

Recovery begins in the crown when colour returned after a few months of “wintering” !

Strawberries do not fruit in winter

Awakening Plant

Strawberries do not fruit in winter

2018 April 27 – New Shoots

2018 Update – Aren’t they pretty?

Grow strawberries without carbon footprint

2018 January 23

Grow strawberries w zero carbon footprint

Good size strawberry –

Grow strawberries in the tropics

2018 Feb 1 – strawberries ripening

Grow strawberries in Singapore

2018 Jan 27 – Harvest Day

Grow strawberries in Singapore

2018 Feb 4 – Sweet berry taste with white flesh (own crossing)

Size of fruits are not dependent on weather. We observed that the same seeds grown in USA, are the same size for the first year harvest. Gradually over-wintering outdoors will improved their plants while in Singapore, remained same.

Grow strawberries in tropical country

Size of fruit is same as grown in USA

Second Generation –

With fruits, another opportunity to learn and a wild ride has began!

Passion Made Possible Strawberries

August 20 – red seeds from our fruits

Wonder how the next generation grows? 🙂

Passion made Possible Strawberries

August 27 2017 – First sprout !

Here we go again! Second generation has began. Seeds sowed on August 20, first sign of germination was spotted on August 27 2017 (7 days)!

Grow strawberries from seeds

Oct 15 2017 – A faster growing seedling in hydroponic than soil based

Grow hydroponic strawberries in Singapore

2017 Dec 24 

Last but not least, we had observed that in addition to vivid red stems, roots also have an indicative signal for flowering stage! 🙂

2018 Update on second generation seedlings –

Grow strawberries w zero carbon footprint

2018 January 23 – Flowering

Seeds from our own fruits are harvested for generation studies. From our observation, second generation do not seem to fruit as vigorously as the parent, but the third and 4th plants grew and fruit faster. In fact, it was flowering from the second month in our natural environment. Perhaps we have to keep growing for truly acclimated plants, with our own seeds.

Tabletop fruits harvest

Common Red Alpine

Tabletop fruits harvest

2018 June 18

Grow strawberries from seeds in Singapore fruits harvest

Flowering in 2nd month

 

2018 Hydro Vertical Gardens – built this with PET bottles  !

Small Space Window Gardening

April 30 Bedroom Gardens

HEIRLOOM Strawberries in plugs (2 months old, soil or hydro) can be pre-ordered in SHOP !

ROSEMARY – GROW THEM WELL

Featured

Rosemary plants are one of the easiest herb to grow once we understood what they need.  As a novice gardener in 2015, I could not say the same as I was a serial killer of rosemary plants bought from nurseries, even though I followed their instructions of care faithfully. I did not understand then the why but now I do.

  • Nursery plants are potted in cocopeat. As this medium retains water, it is not suitable for rosemary. Follow soil mixture instructions below by fellow gardeners
  • Rosemary tolerate sun very well 
  • Can be grown outdoor as long as soil mixture does not retain water
  • Easier to grow from cutting than seeds
  • Do not need much fertiliser, use any in mild form only
  • Do not need to water everyday (soil based)
  • As they grow, trim often (cut stem) to encourage bushier growth
  • Suffered roots rot easily if roots are constantly moist (soil based)

2018 – 2019 Update – Rosemary in Liquid Base

These were thriving rosemary plants grown by fellow gardeners, outdoor , in our natural elements (rain, wind, haze) since 2015.

How to multiply rosemary from cuttings

2015 October 10 – Steve Teh‘s

How to care for rosemary

Steve Teh’s  6 years old Rosemary & Bay Leaf plant

Without any sunny spot to grow, your rosemary probably will look like mine. They were transplanted outdoor as there was not much sun in my balcony gardens. Starting from seeds were more difficult and slower.

Rosemary and Curl leaf parsley love sun

Rosemary and Curly Parsley – Limp seedlings after transplanted

Rosemary plants are easier to propagate from cuttings than starting from seeds. My first rosemary cuttings were from Terence Low’s (NakedGreens group admin) and rooted in tap water.

Mar01 2016 - 11 days to root in tap water! Woody stems can still root!

March 01 2016 – Woody stems can still root!

2018 August 25 – From above cuttings, our plants have multiplied and still thrived today.

TIP – Trim often to encourage new branches. Use leaves for cooking, stems for rooting

Grow rosemary from cutting

Watermelon Skin Compost 30% : 70% sand & pebbles

How to Root Cutting Tips

Jack Yam, a member in our Facebook gardening group (SG Farming in Apartments), perfected the rooting method for rosemary, and had a pictorial tutorial on how to root them.

These were what he said –

  1. Trimmed away the leaves from mid to bottom of the stem
  2. Support the cutting so that only 1 cm of the roots’ end is in water
  3. Cutting root better in bright sunlit area
  4. Rooting rosemary cutting

    Roots showed in 7 days!Cutting root better in bright sunlit area.

    Rooting rosemary cutting

    Healthy roots are white color

Rooting from living plants from gardens had a higher chance of success than grocery bought.

Netcups can be used to support mature plants and prevent mosquitoes access to stagnant water if they fit well and sealed access with correct fitting sponge.

Grow rosemary from cutting in Singapore

Mosquitoes Safe Growing

Propagating a cutting –  We observed that cutting root better if supported with only 2 cm of tip in water rather than resting fully in container.

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Rooting without Mosquitoes Risk

Netcups for smaller reservoirs available in SHOP !

Grow Rosemary from cutting in containers

Rooted in netcups

Soil Mixture Tips

If rosemary plants are grown in areas where there is no shelter from rain, the soil mixture must be customized to allow rain to flush out as fast as possible.

April 22 2016 - Rosemary cuttings can survived rain storms if the soil is prepped well to prevent water log.

April 22 2016 – Water flushed out as fast as it hit

Rosemary from cutting

May 30 2016 – Grown outdoors and thriving! I generally let rain water these pots unless its a dry spell 🙂

Rosemary plant care information

July 12 2016 – Rosemary in outdoor garden, thrived in spite of being rained on etc One plant eaten by snail or stolen again!

Propagate rosemary cutting

October 25 2016 – update on rosemary cutting ! 🙂

Grow rosemary plant from cutting

Jan 27 2017 – After a week of heavy rainfall

The trick is mixing the soil, to be less soil! 😀 More sand, more pebbles, only 30% soil, the rain/ water must flush out as quickly as it arrived. How to get the soil mix right? Play with your mixes – Mix and match your soil one lazy afternoon, dip in a pail of water n see if it drained in one minute! 😀 Add more pebbles etc if they do not drain well. Lastly, the base of the pot is best lined with pebbles or rocks to aid draining as well.

Other gardeners also generously shared tips on how to propagate and keep rosemary plants thriving for years.  So my thanks to all of them for sharing.

Rooted in liquid, Grow in liquid (HYDRO, using nutrients)

As fussy they are in soil and needed the right mixture to prevent water logging, they thrived even better in liquid base.

For our indoor gardens in 2018, we are growing more plants (herbs, vegetables, lavenders, strawberries etc) in liquid base as they are lighter than soil and do not strained our windows.

Hydro Rosemary Journey from cutting –

Grow fresh herbs indoors

2018 August 18 – rooted in 4 days

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

2018 September 03

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

2018 December 11

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Pruning encourage new shoots

The process of rooting cutting whenever we used this herb never stop, because we can never have too many rosemary in this home or for our workshop’s participants (whenever available) ! So here we go again on December 11 2018!

Rooted in liquid, Grow in Soil Method

Sthh Sthh from Plant Community Singapore shared how to root Rosemary from store bought herbs :

How to grow rosemary from cutting using store bought herbs

Oct 8 2015 – Used most of the leaves for cooking then use the stem for rooting

How to grow rosemary from cutting

2-4 weeks to see roots. Tap water used only. Once roots appeared, transfer to net pot with nutrients solution (Can use Lushgro A+B solution for leafy vegetables)

Sthh Sthh used his own mix of nutrient solution too.

His recipe is : NPK 21-21-21, a dash of epsom salt, and a teaspoon of seachem flourish trace minerals into 3 litre of water. EC about 2000. (I am clueless here as well, not being familiar to commercial fertilizers! )

Rosemary propagation

Rosemary Propagation – Only roots come in contact with nutrients solution

 

Rooting rosemary

Rosemary ‘s stem stayed dry in net pot while roots are in nutrients solution

 

Rooting Rosemary

Rosemary rooting pots suspended above nutrients solution

 

How to grow rosemary from cutting

Rosemary transferred to pot (Sthh Sthh’s post in Oct 2015)

STHH STHH also shared how he watered and adjust the soil media needed for a dry loving plant like rosemary and even lavender! Deep Water Soak Treatment

How to water rosemary plant

April 25 2016 –  When the soil become dry, STHH immersed the whole pot in a basin of water. Green Culture Singapore’s post.

STHH STHH – How I water my rosemary and thyme, very deeply. Entire pot is submersed in a basin of water. Then pot is lifted to drain.

If water does not completely drain in less than 1minute, your medium is too dense for rosemary or thyme. Time to add some grit. Many options are available – sand, pebbles, perlite, whatever that aid good drainage.

If your water does not soak deep into the soil, the roots of the plants will stay close to the surface, and if so, you cannot skip watering your plants every couple days, which also increases humidity, which is a killer for rosemary and lavenders here in SG.

Deep watering helps plants to establish better roots, and watering will be required only once a week, or twice a week when it gets hot. For suspected fungal infection, or for aeration of soil, you can add a little hydrogen peroxide.

How to water rosemary plants

STHH – The water must drain out in less than 1 minute, also to gauge whether soil used is suitable

And that is how STHH keep his rosemary plants so well. Please remember to only water these plants when the soil is dry.

lavender plants care

This is how dry Sthh Sthh’s soil gets before he water the soil !!!

Agnes Yang on Feb 8 2016 shared how she root her rosemary cutting (from a live plant) –

Propagate Rosemary

Feb 8 2016 – Agnes Yang’s Rosemary rooted in half strength seaweed liquid feed, 7 – 10 days to see roots.

How to multiply rosemary plants

February 9 2016 – Recycled plastic bottle to root Rosemary stems 🙂

Ms. Yang used a syringe to draw a small amount of this and she also said, ”  I’m using diluted seaweed solution. Cheaper than rooting hormones and works well as continuous support even after potting through watering with it”.

SOIL MIXTURE Tips from gardeners

Steve Teh (Plant Community Singapore, Dec 8 2015) – Compost: perlite: coarse sand: rice husk. The ratio is 3:1:1:1.  Some limestone powder added in the mix for higher alkaline level. If  rice husk is not available, then add more sand and perlite. Coarse sand is from nursery and not the beach as the latter contained salt. If beach sand is used, it need to be washed first to rid of salt.

Veronica Yuen (SG Farming in Apartments, Jan 2016) – ” It require good drainage, use 50% perlite, 25% compost, 25%potting mix. Water once or twice a week.”

Terence Low, Naked Greens – 1:1 top soil and other part perlite, pumice or sand will do.

Guanster Guan ‘s soil mix formula, please click on the hyperlink.

All in agreement that Rosemary are sun lovers 🙂 Just don’t love them too much with the watering! 🙂

How to plant rosemary cutting

Steve Teh’s rosemary sought the sun aggressively!

Rosemary plants needs

Chef Donny Tan’s rosemary plants at his doorstep

ROSEMARY IS USEFUL ! 

As a herb, it can be used raw in salads, as it’s scent adds an aromatic experience to raw vegetables. In this plate, Chef Donny Tan created a beautiful tomatoes and grapes salad with rosemary.

 

How to grow Rosemary in Singapore

Eye pleasing and delicious

Rosemary Seasoned Salt for culinary purposes.

To make this, just dry baked sea salt with rosemary leaves and kept in airtight containers. When bottled in beautiful glass jars, these are elegant gifts as well.

Rosemary Plant Care

Rosemary seasoned salt

Rosemary salt can be used with baked potatoes or lamb seasoning.

HAIR and SCALP TREATMENT

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Extracting Rosemary Oil

Rosemary extract can be made by submerging the leaves in vodka. When vodka is not  available, I still preferred to use a mortar and pestle to prepare my herbs for home remedies or seasoning over the electrical equipment.

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Pound leaves with coconut oil

For hair treatment, herbs leaves are removed from the cutting and pound in oil. Coconut oil is the best but any light oil is fine as well. The mixture can be applied to hair as is or warmed for a hot treatment. For oily scalp, we can opt out the oil, and instead mixed with suitable conditioner and then apply.

Grow Rosemary from seeds or cutting in Singapore

Mixed with conditioner

Rosemary Benefits

  • Soothes itchy scalp
  • Reduce hair loss because rosemary oil stimulates blood circulation on scalp, promoting hair growth
  • Anti-inflammation properties
  • Nourish hair follicles
  • Stimulate cell renewal leading to natural healing
  • Scent improve memory

USE ROSEMARY OIL WITH HAIR MASK FOR DEEP REPAIR TREATMENT

After overcoming the challenges of growing rosemary, there is only happiness and satisfaction during harvest.

Grow rosemary from cutting in Singapore

Freshly cut rosemary smells awesome

 

Rooted herbs seedlings may be available for sale, do contact via SHOP.

 

Rosemary Plant Care in the tropics

Rosemary in liquid base

 

 

 

White Strawberries

Featured

In 2017, we began new exploration of white wild Alpine strawberries varieties in KRATKY (passive hydroponic) that were not common commercially and too fragile to ship, thus we had to grow them from seeds.  Some of their taste profiles were described as intensely aromatic, mostly sweet with different variant of interesting flavors, such as pineapple, cotton candy, rose syrup or caramel.

As we explored more widely and tasted the fruits of our labor, we discovered not every white (or yellow) strawberries carried this special taste.

Now we understood why some growers classified the special ones as “gourmet” and others as “common”. Seeds prices were higher and sources to buy were more limited with the gourmet range.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in KRATKY

Strawberries without soil

True white strawberries belonged to 2 groups only.

  1. Alpine (Fragaria Vesca, originated in Europe)
  2. Beach (Fragaria Chiloensis, originated in Chile, also known as South American or coastal strawberries)

Both the alpine and beach strawberries are wild species.

White strawberries are white because they lacked the protein FRA a1 which made red strawberries red. People who are allergic to red strawberries have no problems eating white strawberries because of the absence of this protein.

An example of white strawberries sold in ISETAN (Japanese shopping store) on January 8 2016. It is not far fetched to sell fifteen pieces of gourmet white strawberries for Singapore $200, about USD $150.

Photo : Joyce Ho, January 8, in Isetan (Japanese Supermarket)

Photo : Joyce Ho

After growing our own wild white strawberries since 2016, we now know that these supermarkets’ strawberries are likely hybrid. Heirloom wild strawberries are typically small and soft flesh. Once harvested, they are unlikely to last a day. What they lacked in size, these varieties more than compensate with their aromatic intense flavor and unique taste.

A sought after and commercial popular white hybrid variety is Pineberry (white flesh, red seeds), a cross between Fragaria and Ananassa varieties. This cannot be grown from seeds, as Pineberry is a cultivated hybrid, thus please do not buy pineberry seeds online.

List of some Wild Alpine White varieties –

  1. Krem
  2. Pineapple Crush
  3. White Delight
  4. White Giant
  5. White Solemacher
  6. White Soul

We started our exploration in 2015 with WHITE SOUL variety in soil and then late 2017 liquid base.

2018

With the experience gained from Pineapple Strawberries (yellow varieties) in 2016 and 2017, we had more confidence to try more white strawberry varieties. On January 20, we sowed four new types and they germinated on January 26 after 6 days, using new germination method.

One of these new varieties belonged to the gourmet category with taste profile of caramel and pineapple. These seeds are no longer on sale.

Grow white strawberries in Singapore

January 27 2018 – tiny sprout spotted!

See how tiny they were when they began this journey in Singapore!

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

So Tiny

White strawberries varieties are considerably smaller and slower to grow than the common red varieties.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 April 27 – 80 days old

And like children, they grew up!

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 2

White strawberries have the characteristics red stems of normal red garden varieties. From germinating through growth stages here, we are breeding them in natural SG environment.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 July 15

Our hope is to grow more varieties of white strawberries and built a portfolio of gourmet hydro plug-ins for household gardeners and high tech systems. Some of our seeds collected over the years are no longer available for sale internationally.

A Comparative journal from USA, with Regina Fok

To collect growth data on white strawberries from our seeds. Thank you, Regina!

Her seeds germinated in 9 days in an indoor environment of 23C. Similar to our white strawberries seedlings, her seedlings were small as well.

Grow white strawberries from seeds

April 8 2016

White Soul strawberries from seeds

May 21 2016 – 2 months old

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

White strawberries variety from SG Strawberries seeds

The size of first harvest fruits are same as ones grown in tropical Singapore.

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

White strawberries are alpines

As there is not much information available on white strawberries in our tropical zone, we are hoping to record more data as we grow them in our blog. 🙂

THE UNEXPECTED CURVE BALLS  (CHALLENGES) 

White strawberries are by far, one of the most difficult to start from seeds. However, the more challenges they present, the deeper we learned how to grow them.

Whether in high tech systems, Kratky (liquid base) or soil, this knowledge is invaluable , especially for gourmet strawberries’ recovery SOP (Standard Operation Procedure) because plants and seeds are now scarce to our region.

With this variety, we experienced how every part of the plant can “break away” and how to save them when it happened. The following is a list of challenges for growing white strawberries plants out of their natural zone.

Leaves Wilting

Grow White Soul strawberries from seeds

Wilting Leaves

White strawberries are extremely delicate and fragile. Transplanting them need extra care. The leaves suffer rot easily, thus its a good idea not to get the leaves wet and stay wet. Surviving seedlings are slower to grow. They become hardy after the fourth month.

Roots Separation

The roots sometimes dropped off for no reason.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 02

With limited roots, strawberry plant can still stand upright. They also recovered fast with the right remedy. Sign of successful recovery is first more roots mass and then new leaf growth from the crown (mid section of the plant).

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 2 – Root-less

It is possible to regenerate new roots when this happened for hydroponic plants.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 28

Crown Separation

The strawberry top can breakaway from its crown like this.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 February 28

In the past, when this happened, it would rang a death knell for this plant.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Separated from Crown

However, even with a tiny part of roots remaining, it is possible to revive a strawberry plant.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Tiny root part

With recovery SOP, now we could recover these plants as long as they were healthy before the separation, that is not pests stressed etc. In 7 days, new roots showed.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 March 05

Once on the mend, roots gained mass quickly. This was the progress between March 5 to the 14th.

Grow White Strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2019 March 14

A clear signal from a recovered plant is when new leaf showed at the crown and color returned to the stem.

Fruits of our labour

Uphill battles won ! Finally we harvested fruits from February 2018 plants!

We are always grateful for these small fruits after so many trials at every stage.

Grow white strawberries from seeds

2018 Aug 01 – Caramel + Pineapple

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

2018 August 01 –

Grow white strawberries from seeds in Singapore

Seeds harvest

Do check in to our SHOP for seeds or net-cups ! Seedlings had to be pre-ordered due to limited space.

Grow gourmet strawberries

Bulk Delivery of hydro plugs

With the compilation of 2 years of strawberries growth data in our tropical zone, we discovered new ways to grow them better. Future strawberries will be breed this way, with zero carbon footprint, yet tough enough to fruit in natural environment. In addition, our hydro seedlings can be easily plugged in high tech systems or stand bare in Kratky.

White Strawberries Summary –

  1. Perennial plant
  2. Heavy feeder, need Phosphorous and Potassium like most strawberries
  3. Minimum 6 hours light, prefers shade over full sun
  4. Well drained loamy soil
  5. Moderate watering, preferred drip irrigation
  6. Temperature not above 29 degree Celsius 
  7. More delicate seedlings than red varieties
  8. Fruits were slower to develop in natural environment
  9. Suffered heat stress more often, not recommended outdoor
  10. Pineapple scent permeates the whole plant during fruiting stage
  11. Mature plants are 6 – 8 inches tall, Width 10 – 12 inches across
  12. Suitable for USA zone 4 – 8 (For reference, Singapore is beyond Zone 13 )